Editors of at least eight prominent media outlets across world issued a joint statement on 15 February, demanding immediate release of Kashmiri journalist Fahad Shah who has been languishing in Indian jail under draconian laws.
“A full year has passed since Fahad Shah, editor of The Kashmir Walla newspaper and an internationally respected reporter with whom we have worked, was arrested on Feb. 4, 2022, in Kashmir for publishing “anti-national content.” The Kashmir Walla, which Mr. Shah founded, elevates the voices of everyday people and stands fast against unjust laws with honest reporting. But Mr. Shah has paid a heavy price for that work,” read the statement.
The statement was issued by Katharine Viner (The Guardian Editor-in-Chief), Boyoung Lim (Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting Senior Editor), Daniel Kurtz-Phelan (Foreign Affairs Editor), D. D. Guttenplan (The Nation Editor), Dave Besseling (South China Morning Post Long-reads Editor), Erica Berenstein (Insider Executive Producer of News and Documentary), Ravi Agrawal (Foreign Policy Editor-in-Chief) and Mark Sappenfield (The Christian Science Monitor Editor)
“He has been granted bail repeatedly, only to be immediately rearrested. He continues to be held in a jail in Jammu, far from family and friends, under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. He is facing life imprisonment if convicted,” the statement noted.
“Mr. Shah’s case is a sharp reminder of the need to strengthen free voices as efforts to shut them down intensify daily around the globe. His release is particularly important to the cause of free press in Kashmir,” it added.
The editors call on Indian authorities to release Shah immediately and to respect his standing as an independent journalist.